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The Actuator: Fractured Earth by James…
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The Actuator: Fractured Earth

by James Wymore

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Fractured Earth (The Actuator #1) by James Wymore and Aiden James is book one in the series. This sci-fi/fantasy book has lots of crazy stuff happening due to a machine that changes the world or parts of the world's communities into new realities, some quite terrifying. ( )
  MontzaleeW | Jan 28, 2017 |
3.5 stars

Read all my reviews on http://urlphantomhive.booklikes.com

As I'm sure a lot of my bookish friends will agree with me: we have all thought at least at some point 'what if the world was more like the one in a certain book'. Well, the Actuator makes exactly that happen. The so-called Machine Monks feed the machine with their favourite genre-ideas and the Actuator makes it happen. For some reason this is highly secretive military invention (I'd say it would work wonderful in theme-parks as well). But what if security fails and 20-something Machine Monks are feeding the machine at the same time? One moment you're just a Key Hunter, the next you're battling Orcs and the base's Commander has turned into a dragon.

I liked it. It had a very fresh idea and besides, since it focuses a lot on books and genres (and the tropes as well) I didn't feel like it could go wrong. The world is fractured into a lot of different regions, which are all modelled after someone's favourite genre. So, the base is a medieval epic fantasy world but since they need to recover everyone's key (to shut down their part of the simulation) there's an almost unlimited variety of genres possible in the book. Which was something I really liked. The border are strict and everything that's taken from one region to the other morphs into something to fit the genre as best as possible.

In what other book can you find dragons, space opera, vampires, steampunk and pirates without it feeling too crowded? It was a lot of fun, even though not everything added up for me. Why isn't everyone's key just at the base? How do they know exactly what everyone's key is? Also, at a certain point during reading it started to get a bit repetitive as there seemed to be a pattern as soon as they entered a new region. But all in all, I liked it more than I expected and am looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

Fractured Earth is the first book in the Actuator series, the second book is called The Return of the Saboteur (Review to follow). There's also an anthology with short stories from the different regions called Borderlands.

Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review! ( )
  Floratina | May 26, 2016 |
*Book source ~ A review copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.

Red McLauren is a Key Hunter and when he’s told to escort a group of Machine Monks out to survey some rocks when The Actuator is getting ready to fire up an event he’s uneasy. Something feels off and when the event happens and everything goes haywire he ends up being a leader even if he doesn’t feel like one. Someone has sabotaged the dampeners and the entire world has changed and not for the better. Eighteen confirmed Machine Monks created pockets of alternate realities and four more unconfirmed means the world is in chaos and people are dying by the millions, possibly by the billions. Those from the base are the only ones who know what happened and they need to put the world back before humanity is wiped out. A task easier stated than done.

I can’t recall having read a book that has a machine that can alter reality in the physical sense. I mean, completely change the world into whatever reality parameters the person has selected. The Machine Monks are addicted to the Actuator and get a high from when it substitutes reality for their own. Each Monk has a favorite genre, be it horror, steampunk, historical romance, paranormal, fantasy, sci-fi, etc, so when they feed 20 or so fantasies into the Actuator and the dampeners (which restrict the change to a small testing area) fail those fantasies become realities all over the world. It’s chaos and death. The thought of having to find the keys in each reality in order to change it back exhausted me and I wasn’t even one of the people doing the rescuing. :D

Well-written and fast moving the story made me feel as if I was really there. The characters are great even the ones I wanted to bash over the head, but I have to say that I love Red best. There’s something about a reluctant hero, one who never really thought it would come down to him that I really like and Red is very likeable. The multiple POVs really help with the vast scope of the story and make the experience just that more rich. The thought of the world being carved into different sections of fantasies made real just boggles my mind. It got me thinking…if I was a Machine Monk, what would my slice of the world be like? Uh, oh…I have a feeling it would be a very naughty world indeed. *fans self* All-in-all a solid sci-fi adventure. ( )
  AVoraciousReader | Apr 4, 2014 |
Book Info: Genre: Science Fantasy Adventure
Reading Level: Adult
Recommended for: Fans of Science-fantasy adventure
Trigger Warnings: killing, murder, violence

My Thoughts: Wow, this book could not be any more different from the last book I read, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Mixing science fiction with multiple fantasy tropes, this was a really fun, fast, and furious book. When the action went from a fantasy world to a space opera world to a steampunk world I knew I was going to enjoy this story a lot.

There is plenty of action and adventure (and 'splodies) in this book. There is some character development, but mostly the action is too fast to take the time to worry about the characters much. There were problems with editing, such as “waive” for “wave” and “reign” for “rein”, as well as capitalization problems with Red and Dragon Star at times, so be aware of that. It's not too bad, though, and I imagine a lot of people won't even notice it.

If you're a fan of both science fiction and fantasy, this book will likely have something you will like. It is very obviously the first book in a series, as it ends on a minor cliffhanger. I know I'll be watching for future books in this series to find out what happens next, and to see more of the various worlds.

Disclosure: I received an e-book copy from the author in exchange for an honest review. I also accepted it on NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

Synopsis: On a secret military base tucked in a remote desert mountain, a dangerous machine lies hidden from the American public.

Known as “The Actuator”, this machine is capable of transforming entire communities into alternate realities. In theory, these often terrifying realities are reversible. The scientists in charge of this machine employ operatives called Machine Monks, who attune their minds to manifest single ideas from the realms of fantasy and science fiction. These ideas are then superimposed upon sparsely inhabited areas for testing.

For a while, the enigmatic Actuator cooperates with the experiments, using dampeners to limit the affected area. But those in charge of the project eagerly anticipate exploring the full potential of this amazing device. Experiments progress to where they feed more than twenty different genre ideas simultaneously into the Actuator’s database. Meanwhile, an unknown saboteur dismantles the dampeners. The effect is catastrophic. The entire world is plunged into chaos, and familiar landscapes become a deadly patchwork of genre horrors. Overnight, the Actuator becomes the worst menace the earth has ever seen, claiming lives in staggering numbers.

Can a few surviving Machine Monks band together to set things right again? It all depends on whether Red McLaren and the Monks can survive their journey through the various realms that separate them from the Actuator, where ever-present orcs, aliens, pirates, and vampires seek to destroy them. They must move quickly, as time is running out to stop the Actuator and the villain who controls it and the earth’s destiny. ( )
  Katyas | Oct 11, 2013 |
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